Early Maternal Employment Patterns and Child Body Weight at Age 6: Evidence from Germany

Michael Kühhirt, University of Cologne

Research in the United States repeatedly has found a positive association between maternal employment and indicators of children’s body weight. Findings in European countries, including Germany, are less consistent. Furthermore, little empirical work examines the role of duration and timing of maternal employment for the physiological development of children. In the present study, I use data on roughly 900 children born between 2002 and 2006 from the German Socio-Economic Panel to investigate the relationship between different early maternal employment patterns and child body weight at age six. To adequately account for time-varying confounders I estimate marginal structural models by inverse probability of treatment weighting. Preliminary results indicate that one year of employment while the child is below the age of three is positively associated with child’s body mass index at age six whereas there is no significant association with later employment.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families